Last Updated August, 2021
Is it worth renting a car in Antalya? Is it safe to hire a car and drive in the Antalya region? These are some of the most popular questions people ask me after reading my guide to driving in Turkey.
So I decided to write a separate post and share a few peculiarities about car hire in Antalya as well as about our own experience driving here.
We rented cars in Turkey on many occasions. We rented them countless times when lived in Istanbul, once in Bodrum and already a few times in Antalya. In fact, just a few days ago we have dropped the second rented car that we hired for the entire month in Antalya airport. Before that, we had a rental car with us for almost a month too. And we got so used to it that going back to public transportation now is hard.
In Istanbul, we never needed a car in the city. We hired it only when we were traveling around or to the coast. Antalya is very different from Istanbul. The number of activities here is not as big and sooner or later you’ll want to hire a car to venture outside the city and have access to all remote areas full of natural wonders and historic landmarks. That’s what we did. And that’s what you’ll want to do too, especially if visiting this region for longer than two days.
Now, let’s go ahead and talk about the car hire process and driving in Antalya. In this post below, I offer you practical tips for safety, parking, and road-tripping. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask them in the comment section, so I can answer them for others to see too.
Is It Worth Hiring a Car in Antalya?
Normally there are two reasons why people come to Antalya. The first one is to stay at one of many luxurious and not so luxurious but all-inclusive resorts. There you can spend most of the time enjoying unlimited foods, drinks, bright blue pools, and sunny beaches along with other amenities.
Your transfer is always included and you can take a few guided tours to go on day trips nearby. When you are paying a high price for a room with amenities, you just don’t feel like strolling off too far from a hotel, right? In this case, you obviously do not need to rent a car.
Now the second reason why to come to Antalya is to have it as a starting point or a base for all the activities in the area. Antalya itself is not a very big city and doesn’t require much time to cover most of the highlights. You can see all major points of interest in two days.
While doing so, I don’t think you need a car in the city. The public transport is very well developed and lets you conveniently get around. And it is cheap. Just use the Moovit app for finding routes. At the current moment, I think it is the only app that covers the public transport system in Antalya, and Google Maps aren’t quite there yet. Another option for moving around Antalya is by bike or taxi. The city is bike-friendly and it is very easy to rent a bike anywhere in the city.
But the picture changes if you came to Antalya to explore many world-famous attractions in the region outside the city or to go on a road trip. (As for a road trip, do not miss a drive along Turkey’s Turquoise Coast). In that regard, it is worth hiring a car in Antalya, definitely.
4 Main Reasons to Rent a Car in Antalya
Roads Are Excellent
Overall Turkey’s roads are excellent and make it easy to get around the country. There are plenty of motorways with at least two lanes in each direction, clear signage, and good gas station infrastructure. Other than a motorway, there is good asphalt coverage overall. You might find some dirt roads in remote villages, but they can still be driven with even a normal car.
You pretty much don’t need an SUV anywhere unless you go far east to Eastern Anatolia or Black Sea regions. But that is very far away and probably does not make sense to drive from Antalya to those places.
During these months that we have been staying in Antalya, we have already done a road trip to Pamukkale, drove to Konya, Cappadocia, Fethiye, Mugla, Alanya, and ventured into the mountains. All these routes had very good roads and driving was easy.
Having a Car Saves Time
Time is a precious resource, especially on a vacation. So having a car would definitely be a number one time-saver.
Jump in your vehicle and be in Kemer in 30-40 minutes easily. Otherwise, you would need to rely on finding the right bus route, then a bus station, then the schedule, and so on. By bus, it will take you a minimum of two times longer to ride than to go by car.
Also, Antalya isn’t known for massive traffic usually. So you can cover many places in a short period of time.
It is Comfortable & Safe
If you are visiting Antalya during the summer season (which is also a hot season), having a rental vehicle with you means a totally different level of comfort. There will be no need to wait on a bus in heat and to ride with other people together. Especially now, during corona, it is much safer and more comfortable to travel on your own.
You can also get a private transfer instead of hiring a car but that works better for trips in one direction than for day tours or road trips.
Car Hire & Driving in Antalya is Easy & Enjoyable
Many people try to avoid driving in Istanbul, and there is a reason for that – it is madness. Lots of cars, lots of tiny streets, jammed neighborhoods. People constantly and purposely drive the wrong way. Good luck with parking too.
Antalya on the other hand is a lot smaller and easier to get around. Traffic is OK. The streets are mostly wide (except for some farm roads near the airport). And parking is easy to find almost anywhere in the city. The more problematic are only the old town area and seafront.
We love jumping in a car and going in any direction. There is always beautiful scenery no matter where we go. The farther away from the city we leave the easier it is to drive.
Where to Hire a Car in Antalya
I have rented from a number of companies and aggregators in Turkey and my favorite place to rent now is MyRentACar. It is a smaller aggregator that I believe started off in the Balkans and has grown to operate in 11 countries. It offers a user-friendly website, very good prices, a huge fleet of cars, and actually amazing customer support. Myrentacar works with local companies and most of them are located outside Antalya airport.
When you book a car through them from a local company, an agent will come to pick you up/drop you off at the airport on the day of your flight. Otherwise, if renting on any other day when you are already in Antalya, you need to get to them on your own or make arrangements to meet at the airport if that works better.
I think I mention MyRentACar company in almost every post where I write about road trips in Turkey. I talk more about them and also about companies to avoid in my post about Turkey car hire. If you haven’t read it yet but plan to hire a car, take a look, it will be definitely helpful.
But besides Myrentacar, there are of course other places where to rent a car in Antalya. The choice depends on what exactly you are looking for.
There is also a good range of small privately owned rental shops around the city. As a matter of fact, in some neighborhoods, we noticed there are more of them than grocery stores. And you can easily recognize these rental shops by “CAR RENT” signs. If you wish to rent from them, do it directly on spot.
Although the price at such shops is always significantly higher than at or around the airport. Cars might be older too and in general, these rental shops have only a few cars on offer. But this option could be more convenient if you don’t need a car right away as you arrive and just want to rent it for a short period near the place where you stay.
Also, a lot of hotels in Antalya offer car rental services. So if you are staying in one of those hotels and want to get a car for a day or two, that would be the most hassle-free option. Although this service is also the most expensive one since hotels’ car rentals start from $50 per day or more. But here you pay more for convenience.
And then the last option is to hire a car from big international companies that are located at the airport terminal. That makes it very convenient to rent from if you are flying in. However, renting from an international company has a lot of cons. I also talk about them in my general guide to car hire in Turkey.
If you still prefer to rent from an international company, simply use Discover Cars. But large companies seem to be more expensive in Turkey. Discover Cars offers a big selection of cars from international suppliers. Sometimes they also show deals for local companies as MyRentACar. But their deposit is often higher as well as insurance options.
Check out these deals for a car rental in/around Antalya airport
Car Rental Cost
Antalya is a highly seasonal destination, which means the car rental prices range quite a lot throughout the year. In the off-season from November until April, some rental companies may drop the price down to $7 per day for a budget car. When in high season (July and August) the same car will cost around $30 per day.
If you want to treat yourself a little bit, there are plenty of luxury car rentals in Antalya. Normally they start at around $70 per day or less if rented for a week or longer. In the high season, expect prices to be higher too.
If looking for a premium segment, I would recommend checking MyRentACar first. For some reason, I see much lower prices there than on larger aggregators.
Budget Car Rental in Antalya Airport
The cheapest car rentals in Antalya are going to be near the airport available from local agents but not in the terminal (this is when you book through Myrentacar company, RentalCars, or other aggregators that you may know of). They are usually cheaper because they don’t need to pay an airport fee. Also, since they work 24/7 they don’t charge outside of business hours fees. This is useful when you come in super late or too early.
Additionally, such companies do not apply extra charges for rental amendments. For example, when we rented a car and our plans changed we had to drop off a car one day earlier at 1 o’clock in the morning, the company didn’t have any issue with that. They let us bring it right to the airport and drop it in front of departures. The entire process took 1 minute, no extra fee, we just came and left. It was very convenient.
Just keep in mind, these companies outside the airport are local companies, not big international ones.
What to Know Before Renting a Car in Antalya
1. The process of renting a car in Antalya is pretty simple and pretty much the same as everywhere else in Turkey.
All you need is your driver’s license. If it is in the Latin alphabet, you don’t need to bring an international driver’s permit. Also, you need to have a credit card with the name of the driver on it. And just in case have your voucher, at least as a digital copy on your phone.
To rent an “economy class” car in Antalya, you must meet two criteria: to be older than 21 years old and have driving experience more than 1 year. To rent a luxury car, the requirements are stricter. The age of a driver should be from 25 years old and driving experience not less than 3 years.
2. One thing that might be different from a standard renting process is that some companies may prefer to make the payment in cash since charging a card for some of them includes a transaction fee of up to 18%. We haven’t figured until this day why they charge this fee (because not every company does it and banks don’t charge 18% on top of the transaction) but that’s the fact.
So, one company can be okay about charging a card while another one may ask for cash or an 18% fee on top of the rental price if paying with a card.
To make a long story short – get in touch with a company in advance to find out if they accept credit cards without any extra fees or if you need to have cash with you. Or if you plan to have cash, then use euros or dollars, both work just fine, no need to pay with lira. (Note: once you make a booking, you’ll get contact information for the company that usually includes a WhatsApp number. So you can contact them right away). Also, if the rental company prefers cash, that can be stated on your voucher. So pay attention when reading it.
3. Another thing to keep in mind – most cars for rent in Antalya will often have a mileage limit. Normally it would be 150-200 km for a standard class and 100km for a premium auto.
This limit is calculated as a sum of all kilometers per rental length, rather than the actual limit per day as stated in the voucher. You rent a car for 5 days, you get 1000 km. Going over this limit results in a fee of around 40¢ per km for a regular car and up to a dollar per kilometer for luxury.
From our experience, this mileage is enough unless you plan to drive a lot.
4. One more thing to mention – verify if you need to return the car washed. If you do, you can find car washes at gas stations, where you can either use a self-wash or have it washed and cleaned inside for you. We used a self-wash and it was enough for the company. But it is not required for everyone.
5. Then check the car for damages, mark them on the contract and you are good to go.
Peculiarities of Driving in Antalya
As I mentioned earlier, driving in Antalya is easy and fun. But I would like to talk about some points.
1. Apparently, driving in Turkey used to be a lot more aggressive, but the Turkish government has put effort into dealing with it. There are now a lot of cameras, especially on the highways. Signs warn you about those, so these days there are not many drivers blazing at very high speed. Yet there are some, usually occupying the left lane on the highway. If you see one flying behind you, it is safer to move to the right to let them fly.
Note: In Turkey, it is tolerated to exceed the speed limit by 19 km. But better not to abuse this rule. Anything above that and you’ll get a fine. Police rarely stop anyone on the road these days. Yet, you’ll see frequent traffic patrols (who may stop you too). Cameras record the speed and later the police departments send out fines to rental companies who charge your card.
Now, the speed signs are not always posted so follow the general Speed Limit rule:
- Cities and towns: 50 km/h
- Two-lane highways: 90 km/h
- Motorways: 120 km/h
This is a rule of thumb, but it is better not to go much over the speed limits. Speed tickets start from around $60.
2. Also, local cops like to catch people not wearing a seat belt. The tickets for that are only around $20 but that should not be an excuse not to wear a seat belt ever, right?
3. Another thing that you should pay a little more attention to is the roundabouts. Antalya has a lot of them, so I thought that’s something to mention.
Roundabouts are very popular in Europe and they are pretty straightforward. Once you are on the roundabout, you have the right of way, unless there are signs to yield or traffic lights.
In Antalya, the roundabouts work the same way, but there are a lot of crossroads that look like roundabouts when they are not. In this case, there is normally a sign telling you to go straight or left. If your turn left, yield to upcoming traffic on your right. Just like a normal intersection.
Sometimes I would come to a roundabout that looks like a roundabout but have no signage anywhere stating if it is a roundabout or an intersection. This usually happens on small backstreets in residential areas with little traffic on them. In such cases, if you’re not sure what to do, slow down, yield to traffic on the right, and watch what others do.
4. Red lights. When you see a red light, you usually stop, right? Well, you might actually see quite a lot of drivers in Antalya who stop at a red light for a moment but then proceed if no cars are around. Especially older drivers in older cars like to do that. Apparently, red lights in Turkey used to be treated rather as an indication to stop and yield as the strict rule to stop and wait for the green light.
Again, seems like it happens less and less but I personally saw it a bunch of times. And many times it was so confusing. Someone behind me was just honking for me to drive on the red light. Weeeeird. It wouldn’t really affect you in any way, rather an observation and thing to know.
5. Another small thing that you should probably pay attention to, is that Turks often disregard the lane markings. And they don’t try consistently to stay within two lanes. One time I followed a car on a six-lane motorway for ten minutes and the driver just drove in the center not noticing markings.
People also do it all the time on the streets of Antalya. So you need to be careful when passing the car because a driver in that car can swivel onto your lane.
6. Oh, and turning signals are often ignored. But that is a “norm” I guess for many countries in this region, not just Turkey.
7. Some difficulties of driving in Antalya can be related to signs on the roads. On many roads, the direction signs are located so close to the intersection or exit that it is very easy to miss your turn or not to change the lane on time. This is why you need to drive in Antalya with knowledge of where you are or have a good navigator. Otherwise, one wrong turn and you are going not to the airport anymore but to the beach or bus station, for example.
Parking in Antalya
The last point I would love to address is parking in Antalya. Overall parking here is not a problem except for a few places.
The streets are wide with plenty of space for a car to park, especially in residential areas. But, the central part of Antalya has a lot of paid parking lots, finding a free parking spot can be a quest. In the center of Antalya, the best way to park a car for free would be by the mall or on a grocery store parking lot. But they are often packed.
If you choose to stay in Liman or Lara, you’ll find ample free parking there.
In Kaleci (old city) area and anywhere near the sea, things are more cramped. In fact in Kaleci, no one is allowed to enter by car unless he/she has a reservation at the hotel. The old town is small and there can be a lot of cars with one-way traffic which leaves too little space for parking. Take this into account before entering in order not to create congestion. If you feel that you cannot park on your own, it is better to ask the manager of your hotel to park the car for you.
Anywhere near the seaside, especially on weekends or in the evenings on weekdays, you need either to explore some streets a little further from your destination to find street parking and then walk. Or use one of the paid parking facilities or lots called Otopark. They cost around $0.70-$1 per hour or $2.5-$4 per day (depending on the location).
Conclusion – My Top Tips For Renting a Car & Driving in Antalya
We had a very positive experience with car hire in Antalya. Driving in the region was very pleasant too. Here are some key takeaways that I can offer:
- To save money, have flexibility, a big choice of cars and excellent customer service support, Mark and I use a local agent which we always book through MyRentaCar aggregator.
- If you are visiting Antalya city only, you do not need to hire a car.
- Download Google Maps in advance to use them for navigation. This app works great in Antalya as well as entire Turkey.
- If you are in doubt when on the road, just stay in the right lane and let others pass you.
- If you are staying in Kaleci or Lara and plan to drive to the west along the sea, hit the road early. In this case, you’ll avoid all city traffic which can steal your time.
- Understand local driving habits and relax, driving in Antalya is fun!
So, is it a good idea to rent a car and drive in Antalya? I am convinced that yes. What are your thoughts? Do you have any more questions? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to help!